Independent retailers in Darlington have taken part in a national ‘Colour Friday’ campaign this Black Friday - in an effort to encourage people to shop locally and support small businesses.

Several businesses in the town centre have been taking part in the campaign, many extending great Christmas deals and offering items that are unavailable elsewhere or at other times of the year. 

Emily Parsons took a walk around Darlington to speak to retailers taking part.

Staff at Leggs Fashion, on Skinnergate, said they are “super excited” about Colour Friday, adding: “It’s to raise awareness of your local town centre and independent business owners.

The Northern Echo: Staff at Leggs Fashion in Darlington gearing up for Colour FridayStaff at Leggs Fashion in Darlington gearing up for Colour Friday (Image: EMILY PARSONS)

"By supporting local shops, you are giving back revenue in our local area and healing the high street.”

The owner of nearby Ingledews Jewellers, said: “I just think it’s really important for the independent businesses to try and have a bit of a shout out there against all the ‘big boys’ and Black Friday noise.

"I’ve got a few offers on and I know lots of other people around here have. It’s just a nice way to do it instead of the Black Friday madness – it’s a more personal touch, if you’re coming in and shopping independently.”

Similarly, Bill Gillow, from the family-run fashion brand, Geoffrey Gillow, on Grange Road, said: “We’re a well-established fashion business, and Black Friday really is an American invention that has come over here.

"It’s now synonymous with big discounting and it’s a bit of a misnomer, because it’s sale stock that people are discounting, whereas the idea of this ‘Colour Friday’ is that we’re all independent shops with genuine stock that we’re discounting.”

“For Colour Friday, Geoffrey Gillow will be giving £50 off all men’s and ladies’ coats in-store.”

Certainly, for many small businesses, Black Friday comes with the pressure to offer huge discounts that just aren’t always possible.

For instance, Diane Patterson, owner of Changes Gallery and Gifts, on Skinnergate, said: “We are only open for North East artists. It’s very important to allow North East artists to have somewhere to display their goods and encourage people to shop locally.

The Northern Echo: Diane Patterson, owner of Changes Gallery and Gifts, on SkinnergateDiane Patterson, owner of Changes Gallery and Gifts, on Skinnergate (Image: CONTRIBUTOR)

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“Unfortunately, I can’t put any promotions on because, obviously, it’s all the artists’ work. But every artist in here is a small business in their own right, so we’re essentially a small business that promotes small businesses.”

Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for economy, urged Christmas shoppers to buy local.

He said: “This is often the 'make or break' time of year for independent retailers and by choosing to spend your money with them, you are supporting your local economy and helping to protect the livelihoods of small business owners and the people they employ. Even if it’s just one present – buy local this Christmas.”